White Sox stumble their way into a victory

Chris Sale struck out 13 Mets in eight innings but the Sox couldn't wrap up the win for him. David Banks/USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO -- There was more head shaking in the Chicago White Sox clubhouse than back slapping Tuesday after a 5-4 victory over the New York Mets that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

A White Sox team that can't get out of its own way, and has gone from one of the best fielding teams to one of the worst in less than a season, practically stumbled into another defeat.

Chris Sale was dominating with 13 strikeouts and a victory was one out away when the Mets' Daniel Murphy popped up a ball on the infield against closer Addison Reed.

Third baseman Conor Gillaspie converged on the ball from third base but an overzealous Gordon Beckham crashed the party, tripping over Reed's foot while stumbling into Gillaspie's legs. The ball dropped to the infield and David Wright scored the tying run in improbable fashion.

It could have been chalked up as one of those fluky things, especially when Alexei Ramirez won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a hit down the left-field line. But it was viewed as anything but quirky, especially after Sunday's game when a late-inning error by Ramirez cost the White Sox a chance at a victory over the Royals.

So what happened?

"Well I ran in there and screwed up, that's what happened," Beckham said. "It was a stupid play from me. My heart was in the right spot, but mind obviously wasn't. It was loud. I screwed up. It is what it is. I'm glad we won. I didn't cost us the game, but it's a stupid play and I'm an idiot."

At least there was no finger pointing afterward so it wasn't as if the entire turn of events was completely void of a positive.

Between Beckham's aggressive play, the lack of communication on the infield, Reed standing too close to the play and a team that is trying too hard to a fault, manager Robin Ventura was asked how many things broke down on one play.

"Probably about five," Ventura said. "Everyone saw it. There should be one guy underneath it. You're at a loss to describe it. At least they gathered together and scored a run in the next inning. But it's just a communication thing and you got to clean it up. They know what they did."

Ventura has been looking for far too many things to be cleaned up this year, especially on defense. The White Sox led baseball in 2012 with a .9883 fielding percentage. They entered Tuesday's game 13th in the American League with a .980 fielding percentage.

When will it stop?

"I don't know; you find way," Ventura said. "It's just one of those that baseball finds a way to put a weird play in there or something like that. And you have to learn from it. That's the one thing. We'd better be learning from it."

Not only did Reed get a blown save on the play, but it also cost Sale a chance at his first victory since May 17. At least this one was a no-decision. Already this month, Sale lost a game when he gave up one run over six innings (June 2 vs. the A's) and another when he gave up no earned runs over eight innings while striking out 14 (June 14 vs. the Astros). Somehow the staff ace was able to look on the bright side.

"I don't think I've ever been disappointed after a win," Sale said. "Stuff happens. It's definitely not the first time that's happened and it's probably not the last either. Any time you walk away with a win, there's no reason to hang your head. My record is irrelevant. We got a win today, and that's all that really matters to be honest with you."

Reed did his best to take a positive out of the ninth inning.

"If anything, I learned if there's a popup get the heck out of the way," Reed said. "I feel like I was a little too close to the play in the first place. It happens. Alexei came up with the big hit. The thing I'm most disappointed in is Sale didn't get the win. He pitched his (tail) off and gets nothing to show for it, but we got out of it with the win."

Ah yes, the win. Like a meal with no flavor, the victory gave the White Sox sustenance, but it was far from enjoyable.

"Yeah, you win a game and you're talking about the mistakes you make," Ventura said. "It's one of those you pat Sale on the back and say good job, but he doesn't get the win for that. But (Reed) is still in a situation with a runner in scoring position and gets the out, and (Keppinger) does a nice job of getting on (to lead off the bottom of the ninth).

"Everyone does a nice job and you win, but everyone focuses on (the defense) because you have to clean it up."

Beckham was asked how he will put it behind him.

"I'm going to be here tomorrow … hopefully," he said. "So come back and play again."